3rd Test win – AUS V IND 1981, Melbourne
India defeats Australia by 59 runs
Despite the best efforts of the Indian team of 1977-78 series, India had to face a series loss of 3-2, as Australians won the fifth Test of the series comprehensively.
However, things were going to get better for the Indian team that toured in 1981 for a three-match Test series, as Indian team had a potentially high-class fast bowler in the ranks in form of Kapil Dev.
India had lost the first Test at Sydney by an innings and 4 runs, while managed to draw the second at Adelaide. Everything came down to the third and final Test in Melbourne and that’s when Kapil Dev showed his skills and big heart as he bowled India to a win despite a major injury.
India was put into bat first by Australians and Gundappa Vishwanath scored a scintillating century – 114 in 222 balls with 11 fours to give the Indian score some respectability. India made 237 in their first innings, as Dennis Lillee picked four wickets and Len Pascoe picked three.
Allan Border scored a brilliant 124 and captain Greg Chappell made 76, as Australia piled 419 runs. The wickets were shared by Indian spinners as Dilip Doshi picked three and Shivlal Yadav picked two. Sandeep Patil and Karsan Ghavri also chipped with a couple of wickets apiece.
In the second innings, the Indian openers Gavaskar (70) and Chauhan (85) put on 165 runs and with contributions from Vengsarkar (41) and Sandeep Patil (36) took India to 324.
This innings saw the drama of Sunil Gavaskar taking his partner Chetan Chauhan off the field, after being given out LBW off Lillee. Gavaskar was the captain and was appalled at the umpiring in the match and reached his boiling point when Lillee came up to him and asked him to walk. However, team manager Durrani talked Gavaskar out of his decision to walk with his partner and concede the match to Australia and allowed the match to continue.
Set a paltry target of 143 runs to win, Australia fancied their chances given that India’s premier fast bowler, Kapil Dev had injured his ankle and on the final day of the Test, had a handful of runs to make with eight wickets in hand. India had lost Shivlal Yadav to an injury and he couldn’t bowl or field, leaving India will just one proper bowler in Dilip Doshi, who bowled from one end and picked 2/33 in 22 overs.
However, Kapil Dev returned to the field and bowled after taking pain-killing injections to his ankle and bowling off a shortened run-up, ran through the Australian side. He removed Yardley, Border, Marsh, Lillee, and Higgs to pick 5/28 in 16.2 overs and Australia was bowled out for 83 runs.
India won the match by 59 runs and Gundappa Vishwanath was awarded the Man of the Match honor for his century. It was a show of grit and valor from the Indian team, who drew their first-ever series in Australia.